How To Repair VSS Writers For Windows 8 & Server 2012

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Scope

This article discusses how to attempt to repair failed VSS writers on a protected machine that is running Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.

Background

Datto appliances use the Volume Shadow Copy Service, also known as VSS Writers, to run backups. For more information about VSS Writers, check out VSS Explained: Common Writers, Services, and Hotfixes Available

When VSS writers on Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 fail it could cause backups to fail. To repair VSS writers, the process usually involves using the VShadow utility, but this tool is not available for the above two operating systems. This article describes an alternative method. 

VSS Writers, Services and Processes

Below is a chart including the various VSS writers along with the associated process and service.

VSS Writer Process (.exe) Service
ASR Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
BITS Writer BITS Background Intelligent Transfer Service
COM+ REGDB Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
DFS Replication Service Writer DFSR DFS Replication
DHCP Jet Writer DHCPServer DHCP Server
FRS Writer NtFrs File Replication
FRSM Writer srmsvc File Server Resource Manager
IIS Config Writer AppHostSvc Application Host Helper Service
IIS Metabase Writer IISADMIN IIS Admin Service
Microsoft Exchange Replica Writer MSExchangeRepl Microsoft Exchange Replication Service
Microsoft Exchange Writer MSExchangeIS Microsoft Exchange Information Store
Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer vmms Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management
MSMQ Writer MSMQ Message Queuing
MSSearch Service Writer WSearch Windows Search
NTDS NTDS Active Directory Domain Services
O_Search VSS Writer OSearch Office SharePoint Server Search
O_Search 14 VSS Writer OSearch14 SharePoint Server Search 14
Registry Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
Shadow Copy Optimization Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
SMS Writer SMSSITEVSSWRITER SMS_SITE_VSS_WRITER
SPSearch VSS Writer SPSearch Windows SharePoint Services Search
SPSearch4 VSS Writer SPSearch4 SharePoint Foundation Search V4
SqlServerWriter SQLWriter SQL Server VSS Writer
System Writer CryptSvc Cryptographic Services
TermServLicensing TermServLicensing Remote Desktop Licensing
WIDWriter WIDWriter Windows Internal Database VSS Writer
WINS Jet Writer WINS Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)
WMI Writer Winmgmt Windows Management Instrumentation

Repairing VSS Writers

There are a few steps that can be taken to attempt to repair the VSS writers on a machine:

  1. On the target machine, open an elevated command prompt with administrator privileges.
  2. Run the command vssadmin list writers



  3. Once that command returns, take note of any writers in a Failed state.
  4. Open services.msc on the machine. Reference the above table, and stop the services for the VSS writers which have failed.
  5. Open task manager and hard kill the processes for the related failed VSS writers.
  6. Return to services.msc and restart the related services.
  7. Run vssadmin list writers again to make sure the VSS writers are now showing as stable.

It is imperative that all VSS writers be in a stable state on the protected machine. If there are any writers that are failed, they can cause backups to fail.

The above are basic steps regarding repairing VSS writers. If this does not repair the VSS writers and they are consistently failing out, even after a full reboot of the production machine, you may need to contact Microsoft to further troubleshoot the VSS writers.

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